Misophonia – Sound rage or sensory tsunami?

Recently, I met a new client.

We sat chatting whilst Mum made the tea. The young person chatted freely about Misophonia and was comfortably relaxed until Mum sat down and crossed her legs.

And then, I saw it.

Misophonia that is.

A physical jolt [reflex] to the body that crept up and “hit” hard, with little or no warning!

The emotional state of my patient changed in an instant. Needless to say, having seen “hit” [reflex action], I wasn’t surprised when she let her feelings known.

Consequently, the impact on my patient and her family became a great motivator for me. I was keen to reduce the physical “hit”, as well as the trauma for all involved.

So, what is Misophonia?

Misophonia means “…hatred of sound”. However, sounds are only part of the issue. Actions can be common triggers too!

In the story above, Mum crossed her legs and that’s when things went wrong.

The sounds and actions that trigger Misophonia are voluntary, such as  sniffing, chewing, spitting, crossing legs, licking lips and saying certain words. Involuntary sounds like tummy rumbles or blinking aren’t a problem. Hence, anger rises because the other person [usually a family member] should know better! And disgust arises because of a perceived or potential threat – something that is dangerous and may hurt us.

Like many of us, Misophonia sufferers are apt to be repulsed by the sight and sound of someone eating with their mouth open. However, for them, this causes a powerful urge to stop them or leave!

Like any other perceived or actual threat, Misophonia triggers the fight/flight response. And, is typically accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, shaking, sweating and so on.

So, what is Misophonia and what is the impact?

Talking on Good Morning Britain, Ruth Langsford shared her experience including the frustration caused by her husband’s slurping, tapping and crunching!  Sadly, having lovingly cooked breakfast, she has to leave her husband to eat alone to avoid a domestic!

Kelly Osborne, presenter, told Loose Women shared how she’s even removed gum from other people’s mouths; And, the relief of getting a diagnosis. She’s now learning to cope by recognising and moving away from triggers.

And Franz Kafka [Author] is reported to have become nocturnal. He slept in the day to avoid certain triggers and worked during the night in order to cope!

Many Misophonia sufferers report that they want to hit out following the disgust and/or physical response. And, more and more it seems that people are recognising their symptoms and seeking help.

Treatment for Misophonia in the NHS, UK

Worried about Misophonia? Then, discuss your concerns with your GP.

Whilst Misophonia information is currently pending on the NHS website, I do know of cases where GPs have referred patients to specialists within the NHS Trust for on-going support.

What is Misophonia according to the Misophonia Institute in the USA?

“…Misophonia is a condition where a person has a severe sensitivity to specific soft sounds and visual images. When a person hears the sounds, the person has a very strong emotional reaction such as hate anger, anxiety, rage, and resentment and physiological distress.” Misophonia Institute Website

The Misophonia Institute have worked closely with Chris Pearson, a UK based Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, to research the impact of Sequent Repatterning Therapy [SRT].

Chris Pearson describes the reflex as a “poke to the body”. Research shows that this physical response varies from person to person. Some people feel it in a limb, whilst others get the “poke” within their head or body.

Treatment for Misophonia – Sequent Repatterning Therapy [SRT]

SRT combines Clinical Hypnotherapy, Parts Therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming to effect transformational change.

Sequent Repatterning Training (SRT) is generally effective because it allows a person to feel the physical sensation of the misophonic reflex while not having the emotional response.

SRT builds a strong calming response over a series of sessions. And, then teaches the patient to respond to the physical sensation with a calm response.

How successful is the SRT Treatment for Misophonia?

Research shows that 80% of people who receive SRT get a 70% improvement.

In my experience, this is life changing because the person with Misophonia is gradually able to spend more time with others.  NLP Techniques such as anchoring, enables them to quickly regain a positive emotional state when needed. And, developing a calm default mode is, of course, much better for family life.

The science behind SRT is memory reconsolidating. Like NLP , it works from a premise that we can retrain our brain to respond differently. In a nutshell, Misophonia response memories are deleted and overwritten with a memory [neural pathway] that holds a new and calm response. So, Misophonia patients learn to tolerate the trigger without the emotion [anger, disgust and anxiety].

Treatment for Misophonia – 5 Self-Help Tips:

  1. Talk to people with Misophonia to find out what’s worked for them.
  2. Play background music or white noise to continue to participate in family rituals and social events.
  3. Learn calming techniques that support you to regain your emotional state. 7/11 breathing is a good place to start. You can learn this quickly and easily by listening to the complimentary 4711 Trance available to download from my website or by visiting my YouTube Channel.
  4. Learn mindfulness techniques to support you to manage negative feelings like anger. Top-tip: Accepting your feelings is a highly effective in helping you to calm.
  5. Plan your exit! If you know that a social situation may be challenging, plan and rehearse how to manage it. For example, telling your audience, “I’m just going to take 10, I’ll be back soon”, in order to maintain great relationships and give yourself space.

In Summary…

Misophonia is much more than sound rage. It is an unconscious response [reflex] to a range of triggers that may be visual [observed], auditory [heard]; and more rarely, gustatory [tasted] or olfactory [smelt].

Whether Misophonia is a Sensory Tsunami, is for individual sufferers  to decide.

As a therapist, working with clients to lessen the impact of Misophonia on them is rewarding. Just one of the reasons why I love my job!

Tanya Bunting

Tanya is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer and Student Liaison Lead for the International College of Clinical Hypnotherapy. She works flexibly as a therapist, coach, teacher/trainer in her hometown [Bournemouth] and wherever her skills and interests take her. Tanya is a named Clinical Hypnotherapist on the Sequential Repatterning Training website and offers a complimentary discovery call if you want to talk about your experience of Misophonia and find out how she can help.

Medical Disclaimer

Always seek the advice of you GP or other qualified healthcare advisor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition; and, never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have seen on a website.